Tuesday, October 29, 2013

George Makropoulos, an interesting interview

Mr George Makropoulos is the head of Greek Chess Federation. He is also a high ranked person of FIDE.
In this interview he says very interesting things, that it is useful for anyone to know.
Enjoy the reading.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Three studies by Kyriakos Fragoulis

Kyriakos Fragoulis (1935 - 1997), from Leykada island in Greece, became well known in composing circles with his studies. There were other Greeks also creating chess problems of various types, but Kyriakos Fragoulis was composing exclusively studies.

Study is a position with stipulation "White plays and wins" or "White plays and draws" without specifying in how many moves we must achieve it. The study is like an endgame, but it is a composition, it is not coming from a game.

The players of over the board chess are solving studies as an exercice.

These studies were sent to me by Panagiotis Konidaris from Meganissi (an island near Leykada), who had actually met Kyriakos Fragoulis. Panagiotis says that he found them in some old and turned yellow pieces of paper (thanks Panagiotis!), and they are unpublished, as far as I know.
Their solutions are visible only if you select the text between the square brackets [...].

Kyriakos Fragoulis, Greece
8/6Pb/P1K5/7k/8/8/5P1r/8 (4 + 3)
= White plays and draws

Solution : [1.g8=Q! (1.a7? Be4+! 2.K~ Rg2 -+) Bxg8 2.a7! Bh7 3.Kd5! Rh4 (3...Bg8+ 4.Kc6 Bh7 5.Kd5) 4.f4! Rxf4 5.a8=Q! Be4+ 6.Ke5 Bxa8 7.Kxf4=]

Kyriakos Fragoulis, Greece
8/8/1r3p2/7K/6P1/6Pk/1S6/4R3 (5 + 3)
+ White plays and wins

Solution : [1.Sc4! Rb5+ (1…Rb4 2.Se3! Kxg3 3.Sd5! Rxg4 4.Rg1+, +-), (1…Rb7 2. Sd6 Rh7+ 3.Kg6 Rd7 4. Se4! Kxg4 5.Sxf6+, +-) 2.Kg6 Rg5+ (2…Kxg3 3.Se3 Rg5+ 4.Kxf6 Rg8 5.Rg1+ Kf3 6.g5 +-)
3.Kxf6 Rxg4 4.Se3! Rxg3 (4…R~ 5.g4 +-) (4…Rg8 5.Rh1+ Kxg3 6.Rg1+ K~ 7.Rxg8 +-) 5.Rh1#

The chess program Fritz prefers other continuation, without surprises and with many moves 1.Sd3 Rb5+ 2.Kh6 Kxg4 3.Re3 Rf5 4.Sf4 Re5 5.Rd3 f5 6.Sd5 Re6+ 7.Kg7 +- ]

Kyriakos Fragoulis, Greece
8/S7/7p/1p5k/6p1/6KP/8/8  (3 + 4)
+ White plays and wins

Solution : [1.h4! b4 2.Sc6! (2.Sb5? b3 3.Sd4 b2 4.Se2 Kg6 5.Sc3 h5 =) b3 3.Se5! b2 4.Sd3 b1=Q

Monday, October 14, 2013

Nikos Pergialis, an evergreen composer

As we have already mentioned, Nikos Pergialis is a special kind of composer.

He is composer and singer of rebetiko songs, the last rebetis of our time. Here you can listen him singing a song written by the great Markos Vamvakaris : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DQ8Ad55KXw

He is also a composer of chess problems, favoring beautiful and frugal positions.

Today we will see two direct-mate two-movers and two helpmates, a three-mover and a four-mover.

Nikos Pergialis, Greece
5R2/4p1p1/8/8/4pP1R/4Pk2/5P2/5K2 (6 + 4)
Set play: {1…e5 2.fxe5# [A]}, {1…g5 2.fxg5# [B]}

Tries: {1.Rh3+? / Rg4? K(x)g4!}

Key: 1.f5! [2.Rf4#]
1…e5 2.fxe6 e.p.# [C]
1…g5 2.fxg6 e.p.# [D]

Two mates by en passant capture.
Two changed mates, between set play and post-key play.
From 8 up to 12 pieces, it is a Meredith.

The composer says:
I am not going to reach old and new chessplayers and all the problem-makers
because it happened to me to lose all my prolific years.

Nikos Pergialis, Greece
8/1B6/S7/k2r2Qr/8/KR5b/4s3/8 (5 + 5)
Tries: {1.Qd2+? [A] Rxd2!}, {1.Qxd5+? [B] Rxd5!}, {1.Qd8+? [C] Rxd8!}

Key: 1.Sb8! [2.Sc6#]
1…Sd4 2.Qd2# [A]
1…Rh6 2.Qxd5# [B]
1…Bd7 2.Qd8# [C]
1…Rb5 2.Rxb5#

Theme Gamage (White can unpin a black piece, because Black has just interfered with it).
Black correction (Black plays 1...Rd5-b5 to correct the inherent error of the move 1...Bh3-d7).
Move Pelle (the pinned Rd5 moves, remaining pinned).
It is Imperial, having no pawns.
From 8 up to 12 pieces, it is a Meredith.

Nikos Pergialis, Greece
8/8/P1qk1K2/8/8/8/8/8 (2 + 2)
h#3, a) diagram 2 solutions, b) wPa6 goes to e6
1.Qb7 axb7 2.Kc7 Ke6 3.Kd8 b8=Q#
1.Qc8 a7 2.Kd7 a8=Q 3.Ke8 Qxc8#

b) with wPe6
1.Qd7 Kg6 2.Ke7 exd7 3.Kf8 d8=Q#

The pieces make 18 moves, all different.
Three ideal mates are formed (all the pieces take part), all similar.
Chameleon mates (bK is mated on squares of different colour).
Up to 4 pieces, it is a Weningsteiner.

Nikos Pergialis, Greece
4K3/6p1/4k3/8/1PP3PP/3B4/8/8 (6 + 2)
h#4, 2 solutions

1.Kd6 Kd8 2.Kc6 Kc8 3.Kb6 Kb8 4.Ka6 c5#

1.Kf6 Be2 2.Kg6 Kf8 3.Kh6 Kg8 4.g6 g5#

Model mates (bK and every flight are observed or blocked by only one piece).
Theme Indian.
The White battery is direct (threatening the bK), or indirect (observing a flight).
From 8 up to 12 pieces, it is a Meredith.

The composers says:
Let us take a walk hand in hand, my foolish Black King,
and if I am preparing your funeral, blame the anomaly.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Mate with two Knights on the edge of the chessboard

There is a beautiful problem by the French poet and novelist Alfred deMusset since 1849, which shows a mate with two Knights on the edge of the chessboard. In order to achieve such a mate, one must have another black piece on board, which may disappear in the final picture of mate, or a pawn not too advanced (see Troitsky line).

Alfred deMusset
La Regence, 1849
1s2k1K1/7R/8/4S3/6S1/8/8/8 (4 + 2)
#3, Mate in three moves

1.Rd7! [2.Sf6#] Sxd7
2.Sc6 Sf6+
final picture of mate

I like this problem and I have composed, for a recent composition tourney, a helpmate two-mover twin.
On the first of the twins, White manages easily to force a mate on the cooperating Black with two Knights on the edge of the chessboard, (making two simple moves and two captures).
But on the second problem a black Rook is placed on board and inhibits the mate of the first twin! White, more difficult now (with four captures, pins, unpinnings and removals of guards), manages again to achieve the mate with two knights, but in another edge of the chessboard!
For a two-mover, I consider it nice, (and it is irrelevant that the judge saw the two solutions unsimilar and gave no distinction). Of course, the two fairy conditions were very helpful TakeAndMake (the capturing piece makes one move with the way of the captured piece. Example: if a Rook captures a Knight, the Rook must make one more step as Knight) and Anti-TakeAndMake (the captured piece is not removed from the game but it makes one move without capturing anything on the arrival square.
Final result, with the two fairy conditions combined, is a situation described recently as Bulgarian billiard.
Example: (1) if a Rook captures a Knight, the Rook must make one more step as Knight, and the Knight stays on the board and makes a move itself as a Knight. (2) if a Knight captures a Bishop, the Knight must make one move as Bishop, and the Bishop stays on the board and makes a move itself).

Manolas Emmanuel
8/1K6/8/6bS/8/5S2/5k2/1b6 (3 + 3)
h#2, helpmate in 2
conditions TakeAndMake, Anti-TakeAndMake

Twin a) Diagram,
b) +bRc6, addition of a black Rook

1.Bg6 Sg3
2.Kxg3(Kh5;Se4) Sexg5(Sf6;Bh6)#

b) bRc6
1.Kxf3(Ke1;Sd2) Kxc6(Kc1;Rh6)
2.Rxh5(Rf4;Sg3) Sxb1(Sd3;Ba2)#
final picture of mate a
final picture of mate b

We have composed, together with the Italian Vito Rallo, problems with similar final mates, but using another fairy condition, Andernach (the capturing piece, changes colour).

Manolas Emmanuel and Rallo Vito
Variantim, April 2013
8/8/8/8/8/1K2SP2/4k3/4s3 (3 + 2)
condition Andernach

1.Sxf3(=wSf3) Sd4+ 2.Kd2 Ka2 3.Kc1 Sb3#

1.Kd2 Sd5 2.Kd1 Kb2 3.Sxf3(=wSf3) Sc3#

Ideal Mates, Chameleon.
final picture of mate in first solution
final picture of mate in second solution

Manolas Emmanuel and Rallo Vito
Julia's Fairies Νο.248, February 07, 2013
8/2K1kss1/8/5PG1/8/8/8/8 (3 + 3)
(Grasshoppers: f5 + 0)
condition Andernach
Grasshopper on g5

1.Kf8 Kd7 2.Sxf5(=wSf5) Sh6 3.Sxg5(=wSg5) Se6#

1.Ke8 Ge5 2.Sxe5(=wSe5) Sg6 3.Sxf5(=wSf5) Sd6#
final picture of mate in first solution
final picture of mate in second solution